How many times have you watched a Hollywood film that has a skimpily dressed female character just for the sake of entertainment? Has it ever crossed your mind that the woman has little to contribute to the main plot but is still plugged in to as many scenes as possible? The entertainment industry can be said to objectify the role of a woman.
This was the crux of the film Miss Representation directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom that was screened at T2F on Thursday. The screening was followed by a discussion moderated by Slum Child author Bina Shah.
When asked if the movie’s content was relevant to Pakistani society Shah said, “Why yes, it is. The fact that all of it is happening in a very developed country of the world is heartbreaking.” She then added “With the media gaining power in Pakistan, it is best if one starts discussing these issues before they get out of hand.”
The audience at T2F was shocked to see how women are suppressed in the US. “I was blown away when I first saw this movie. I only thought things were bad in Pakistan. I now know the condition is even worse in the US,” said Shah.
Miss Representation starts off by showing what one would call soft-porn. It highlights how women are viewed as an object of pleasure and how women allow themselves to be objectified and not only lose their confidence but also lower their ability of being seen as smart and politically active. This further widens the power scale between the two sexes. The woman becomes the submissive gender and loses her chances to be seen as a power icon.
But having said all that, one really feels the urge to know about the journey of authoritative women like Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice — women who are holding higher offices — or newsmakers like Katie Couric and Rachel Maddow — who believe they can change a man’s world.
Sadly for Rice, “Washington DC is pretty male” whereas for Clinton, she has been dubbed a “b**ch” several times during the last election campaign.
The debate concluded over the thought that the media has always been in the hands of men and breaking the “glass-ceiling” effect, even in today’s world, requires hard work and courage. “A youthful woman is known for her beauty and her desirability because all that matters are her looks,” Shah later told the audience. “We have traded our values for a globalised world where beauty sells.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2012.
More in Life & StyleH&Z add some bling to your regular khussa